I was shopping in Rome’s Via del Corso, one of the main street’s in historical centre of Rome when it happened. Lured by cheap, new clothes – I walked into one of the shops despite my aching feet after a long day of walking on cobbled paths.
It was instantaneous actually. I was texting a friend. I put the phone into one of my bag’s pockets, turned around to get the dress I wanted to try on, moments later, my phone was gone. At first, I assumed my phone was in another compartment. After searching my entire bag’s contents and even asking the cashiers and shop assistance if they had seen a white Iphone 4S (they shook their heads), I knew with increasing dread that my phone has been stolen.
The first thought that came to my mind was that, after 4 weeks in Europe, I have finally experienced the quintessential European affair – being mugged. It troubled me that I have lost my phone; my bank account details were all in there and worst, I can no longer Whatsapp my mama and papa back home. So, I walked to the nearest tele-shop and bought myself a cheap smartphone.
In retrospect, I didn’t have the urge to cry or berate myself. There’s no anger, no sadness, no attachment to the phone other than a slight sense of loss. After all, I had multiple videos of amazing buskers in various places I have been to – the best was in Dresden, Germany where two men sang a full tenor and bass opera which Wow-ed the crowd away. I saw a guy giving 50 euros to that performance – it was truly one hell of a busk. Now, with the loss of my phone and the lack of back up, I can no longer show my parents what I have seen. Oh well.
I made a police report, got everything properly done so that I can get my insurance claim back home.
Ever since the episode, I learnt two lessons.
- I was too preoccupied with my phone to fully experience my travels
- Being attached to that palm-sized gadget was making me less happy
I changed my traveling style. I no longer check my phone nor do I use it to constantly update others on social media sites (who truly care anyway). What I see, feel, tasted and basically experienced became truly, my own. I am back to the time when I was a teenager and followed my parents’ globe-trotting. And if this comes at the expense of a 500 dollars phone and a lack of communication with friends, so be it.
Thank you, Rome for the wake-up call.
Photo credits to Rick Yang, who was there with me in Rome as well.